We all come to that point in our life when our friends are getting married. It seems once one gets engaged, we find ourselves on a merry-go-round of wedding festivities that never end. You can start racking up the expenses and watch your savings account deplete before the wedding has even begun.
Although it’s the happiest moment for the married couple to be, it’s not always the same for the circle of friends and family around them. Depending on your current situation – if you suffer from depression, anxiety or have experienced loss – participating in the wedding at its full extent may not be the best choice for your mental health.
Are you concerned that being part of the bridal party may not be the best thing for you to commit to at this time? Ask yourself the following questions.
1. Is it feasible financially and geographically?
2. Have I started a new job? Will taking time off cause unnecessary stress?
3. Have I outgrown this friendship? Can I still relate to this person? Are we both in different places? Has the relationship changed?
4. Will this stir up emotions and memories of what could have been with a lost loved one?
5. Will I grieve over the father-daughter dance that I will never have?
6. Am I a caregiver and unable to leave my loved one?
These are moments that are meant to be celebrated, but they can easily trigger someone who has experienced loss or someone who is going through an illness. You have to put your own health and mental well-being first.
It’s OK to decline a bridal party invitation if you think participating will make you upset or anxious. Remember, you don’t have to give in to what you think people expect you to do, and you shouldn’t allow others to guilt trip you into saying yes. A true friend will understand your reason for declining.
Don’t feel selfish for saying no when, in your heart of hearts, you know you may not make it through the wedding. It wouldn’t be fair to the married couple to be, and it wouldn’t be fair to you. Instead, let your friend know that you want to support her in other ways, even if you are unable to attend, including:
1. Helping with RSVPs and making calls.
2. Offering to address invitations and make place cards or seating assignments.
3. Putting together a memory book for the bride and groom that features family members or the journey that brought the couple to this day.
4. Offering transportation for out of town guests, family or even gifts.
5. Finally, loaning them something meaningful on their wedding day. A family pin, piece of jewelry or something borrowed that has sentimental value.
Get creative! There are plenty of ways for you to still be there in spirit.
About the Author
Olivia Sain is a published author, speaker and writer at Staying Sain. A philanthropist and a University of Central Florida graduate, she is the founder of Sain’s Stuffed Giving and the Butterfly Talks.